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Assignment Survival Guide

Proof reading


If you are using Microsoft Word to write your assignment you should make sure you use the in-built grammar and spell checker to make basic checks to your essay. You do need to be careful, however, that when you use the spell checker you don't allow Word to make inappropriate changes to things such as author's names or specific terms related to your subject. This can be very annoying for the person marking your work, particularly if Word has changed the name of a well known author/expert within your subject area who you are citing!

Word also cannot detect when a word is spelled correctly but you have used the wrong word for a particular situation.

You may find it helpful to print out your assignment, so that you can proof read it. Often you will pick up more mistakes when you are reading from a printed copy than on screen.

If you are doing your own proof reading a good method is to read your assignment to yourself out loud. Although, doing this might feel strange, reading out loud means that you can examine more closely how your assignment flows and if it makes sense. If you only read your assignment in your head there is a tendency to scan and you are less likely to pick up errors and clumsy sentences.

You can also use the inbuilt text-to-speech tools in Word to have your text read to you.  There is guidance on using the Speak tool on the Microsoft site.  How well this works for you may depend on the subject area and how many specialist words are included, but is worth a try.

It is also useful if you can get a second opinion, so once you have finished this first stage give your assignment to a constructive person who can also read it for you.

For more guidance on proof reading see the Academic Skills ProofreadingGuide.

Course regulation and guidance

Course regulations and guidance

Once you have completed your assignment, double check any guidance that supports your course. This is usually in your module handbook. Most courses provide guidance on assessment which often includes the following:

  • Maximum number of words
  • Learning outcomes and assessment criteria
  • Date, time and hand-in instructions
  • Exceptional circumstances, what to do if you cannot make the deadline 

You will have probably been made aware of this throughout your course, but it is worth checking as again you could lose valuable marks by not following instructions -especially by not meeting the submission deadline.

If submitting online through Blackboard or Turnitin do not leave it  too close to the deadline to start doing this. It can take a while to upload some documents, especially if it should happen to fail the first time.  If a submission is even a minute late it can be marked as a late submission by the system.

Also, if you do need a printed version do not leave printing your assignment to the last minute - a problem with printing will not be accepted as extenuating circumstances.



You can use this checklist to help you ensure you hand in your assignment correctly.

Item to check Yes No
Am I certain I've got the hand in date and details right?   Check handbook
Have I made enough copies of my work?   Check handbook
Have I kept an electronic copy of my work?    
Have I set my alarm to meet the hand in deadline?   Check the battery!